Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Holy Days

With the end of British Summer Time last Saturday the nights are drawing in and it finally feels autumnal after our long warm spell. Last week it would have seemed too summery for the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls; this week I'm ready for these great Feasts that spell the beginning of the end of the liturgical year. Another month and we will be into Advent.

This week also means Halloween, an occasion that is becoming ever more of a big deal here - largely promoted by commercial interests, judging by the way the space taken up by Halloween products in the shops increases annually. In my childhood Halloween was a bit of autumn fun if it was anything at all. Trick and treating was unheard of, and all our excitement was reserved for Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes) on November 5th. Now not only is Halloween much more of an event, but the emphasis is heavily on all things spooky. We don't do spooky. We do, however, do fun and parties. Last year Halloween was cancelled due to pregnancy sickness (!) but this year we are having a small All Hallows Eve party. Thanks largely to inspiration from Joanna Bogle's Book of Feasts and Seasons this is the plan ...

  • Carve pumpkins
  • Darken the house and light with candles (downstairs) and small lamps (upstairs) - talk a little about what All Hallows Eve means and Jesus as Light of the World conquering death (I have a vague idea of illustrating this somehow with a skeleton and a cross. I'm after a short and visual way of making a point, not a catechism lesson)
  • Eat soul cakes as a reminder to pray for those who have died (we will use ring doughnuts as everyone likes those)
  • Play games - bobbing for apples, blind feeding, and anything else I can think up
  • Eat supper by candlelight - potatoes baked in jackets with cheese and baked beans, apple pies and parkin (if my attempt to follow Joanna Bogle's recipe works!)
  • More games, including hide and seek in the dark
  • Sweets (candy) to take home
Everyone gets to dress up, but not anything spooky. Angel is planning to be a cowgirl and Star a ladybird. They are trying to persuade me to dress Little Cherub as a pumpkin. The guests are J and A-next-door (evangelical Christians) and G and F, another pair of sisters (Catholic). Six is a nice manageable number - although Star, F and A-next-door are inclined to be over-excitable!

All Saints Day will be a holiday, with Mass in the morning followed by a trip out for a drink and a snack. In the afternoon we will be playing badminton with our local homeschool group, which I think can be counted as holiday-ish.

All Souls Day will mean morning Mass again, followed by a visit to a nearby churchyard to visit my Dad's grave and pray for those buried there.


Spinneretta said...

It is quite fascinating looking at the American hallowe'en from an Englishwoman's perspective... and you thought it was commercialized back home!
I got Bogle's book recently too... and it is a treat to be able to do some of the things I remember from home... after being prompted by her book.

Jennifer said...

It sounds like this week will be full of memories of the best kind!

Doris said...

Loved the pasta story! Haven't been able to get into comments for the last few days though...??